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Gainesville moves forward on pedestrian bridge
Work on Jesse Jewell project could begin in February
This file photo shows a billboard depicting an artist's rendering of the envisioned City View Center and pedestrian bridge.

Gainesville is preparing to move forward on a pedestrian bridge spanning heavily traveled Jesse Jewell Parkway.

“The city has met all our requirements,” said Teri Pope, a Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman. “We gave them an encroachment permit to work inside our rights of way. (And the) bridge office approved their plans.”

Gainesville plans to accept bids Sept. 16 on the project, which is estimated to cost between $2.2 million and $2.5 million, said Tim Collins, assistant director for public utilities.

Contracts are expected to be awarded in October, with work expected to start by February, he said.

By July, the city could have a new bridge — about 450 feet long and 10 feet wide — crossing the four-lane road from the west side of the Georgia Mountains Center to Gainesville Fire Station No. 1.

The city’s aim is to provide shoppers and convention attendees easy travel from Gainesville’s downtown to the city’s redevelopment-targeted Midtown district.

The bridge also would connect pedestrians to City View Center, a planned high-rise hotel and office complex touted as a keystone of redeveloping Midtown.

Funding for the project comes from the city’s economic development fund, which is used to help stimulate development and growth “of the city’s industrial parks or any other activity,” said Melody Marlowe, the city’s administrative services director.

When the project is completed, the bridge will be the longest of its kind that DOT officials have dealt with in the area, said Pope, who works out of the DOT’s Gainesville-based district.

The project isn’t expect to shut down Jesse Jewell, which is a frequent rush-hour logjam.

Work would take place overnight, Collins said.

“The road can’t handle any more closings,” he said.

As to how it would look, the city doesn’t have any artist renderings readily available. But Collins noted the bridge, as depicted in a sign off Jesse Jewell, “is a pretty good representation of what it will look like.”